Material Aesthetics

Forensic Architecture

For a building surveyor, architecture is a sensor, in that it is aestheticized to its environment. Its form of aesthetics is a primer for and is primary to human judgment. Aesthetics was originally understood as that which pertains to the senses, but in this context it designates not the human senses but rather the sensorial dimension of matter itself: the ways in which matter can detect, register, and respond not only to contact and impact, but also to influences in its environment and even to remote presence. Ground-penetrating radar, 3-D scanners, remote sensing, and other prosthetic technologies mediate, and thus augment, the aesthetic sensitivity of material formations, buildings, and territories. Material aesthetics is the first and fundamental layer of a multidimensional concept of “forensic aesthetics.” Matter is an aesthetic sensorium in as much as its mutations register minute transformations, variations, and differences within a field of multiple forces.

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